Friday, 28 November 2014

I've experienced better weeks

It has been an unhappy week.

The untimely death, days before his 26th birthday, of cricketer Phillip Hughes following an awful injury whilst playing cricket has shocked and gripped many Australians in a way rarely seen. It might be difficult for overseas readers who have heard this news and who are not in cricket playing countries to understand the extent of the general distress being expressed but Hughes somehow embodied so much of how Australians see themselves and see their heroes. The news of his passing upset me as it did so many others.

Phillip Hughes

The outpouring of grief around the world has been astonishing. This claim is not just hyperbole. On radio just minutes ago I heard that there have been 98,000,000 'views' around the world of photos on Instagram of cricket bats being displayed to mark Hughes passing. That's NINETY-EIGHT MILLION clicks on the internet in ONE day. Amazing.

Perhaps my emotion is amplified by another awful loss virtually simultaneous with that of Hughes. My volunteer co-worker of eight years at the Nursing Home, Da, passed away this morning little more than 12 hours later than Hughes after suffering a massive stroke on Wednesday morning also only a little more than 12 hours following Hughes' injury.

Da had been in good health, was only 67, ate healthily, exercised daily and simply was the last person I would imagine to be near the end of her days.

Both deaths reinforce the point; make the most of every day. Don't take life for granted, don't procrastinate about following your dreams and don't put off to another day telling your loved ones how much they mean to you. You may never get that chance.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Men, Women & Children

Set in Austin, Texas 'Men, Women & Children' focuses on the students of high school and their parents to show how they engage in their communication and relationships in the world of 21st century technology. Given that the teenagers are developing their sexuality porn sites, sexual thought and activity all figure prominently.

The frank nature in which this material is presented, whilst not quite hard core is nonetheless confronting for some as evidenced by a number of walk outs at the session I attended. Although less than two hours in length its slow moving style makes it seem longer.

I think it is quite a good film and probably advisable viewing for the parents of early/mid teen children but it will be uncomfortable viewing for many.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit)

In 'Two Days, One Night' a factory worker (Marion Cotillard) spends a weekend visiting her sixteen coworkers to persuade them to vote against receiving a sizeable bonus in order that she may save her job.

It is a simple film with Cotillard in nearly every scene, the camera following her from residence to residence as she battles her health, uncertainty and embarrassment in this weekend task. The film feels a little bit padded with some longish dialogue free scenes that don't always advance the plot.

This would be a very slight film except for Ms Cotillard's nicely understated performance and a climactic dilemma that provides a poignant finale.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Streets of Paddington

Inner Sydney suburb Paddington was a downtrodden area, out of fashion, when I was growing up in the 1950/60s but the suburb has long since been reborn as fashionable, trendy and expensive.

Thankfully many of the older residences have survived the rebirth largely intact.

Jacaranda tree in flower

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Paddington Reservoir Gardens

The Paddington Reservoir operated as a water reservoir for the eastern suburbs of Sydney in the latter years of the 19th Century. It was decommissioned in 1899 and for most of the 20th Century was a facility for motor vehicles including a service station until the service station subsided partially into the cavity below it in 1990. The damaged service station remained blocked off and the site unused for the next 18 years until a restoration of the reservoir and the reopening of the site as public gardens in 2008.

It is unusual space being below street level but the gardens, built on the former water chambers, draw a lot of attention from passers by and provide an oasis of calm alongside a very busy thoroughfare.

Gateway to the Eastern Chamber
Former Western Chambers
Eastern Chamber sometimes hired for fashion photo shoots, events, etc
Busy Oxford Street goes unnoticed in the Gardens
Sunbather enjoys the calm